Walmart is making efforts to curb the nation’s opioid epidemic by limiting the supply of acute opioid prescriptions to no more than seven days and limiting prescriptions to a maximum 50 morphine milligram equivalent per day. The change will go into effect by July at all Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
The move is part of the retail giant’s Opioid Stewardship Initiative and aligns with the guidelines for opioid use released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC guidelines state that medical professionals should only prescribe the lowest effective dose of opioids to treat pain, and at no greater quantity than needed. The CDC said that the benefits of high-dose opioids for chronic pain are not established and that higher doses of opioids increase the risk for serious harm.
Often, the powerful painkillers are needed for only three days or less and rarely for more than seven days. The retail pharmacies will abide by lower limits in states that have a less than seven-day fill law, the company said.
Opioids are highly addictive painkillers. Many manufacturers of opioids are facing litigation for not warning about the high addiction and dependency of the drugs or the overdose dangers they pose. Many manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies are being held to task for fueling the opioid crisis by numerous local governments, states and tribes across the country.
American Society of Addiction Medicine